The ad was “likely to cause serious offense and was irresponsible,” according to the Advertising Standards Authority.
Fashion may be known for creating provocative imagery that pushes boundaries, but it’s still not a total free-for-all — at least as long as the UK-based Advertising Standards Authority has any say.
The independent advertising regulator ruled on Wednesday that an ad created by Prettylittlething was “offensive and irresponsible” and therefore should be banned. The ad, which was created as a pre-roll ad on YouTube that might show up before one of your searched-for videos, features models in bikini tops, assless chaps and vinyl looking at the camera in a manner the ASA deemed “seductive” and posing with neon bar lights.
“We considered that the cumulative effect of the scenes meant that overall, the products had been presented in an overly-sexualized way that invited viewers to view the women as sexual objects,” wrote the ASA in an official release. “We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offense and was irresponsible.”
The ad was first flagged by a complainant in October of last year, and since then, Prettylittlething has presented moodboards to “demonstrate the creative theory behind the ad” and claimed that it was inspired by rave-going customers.
The ASA complainant won this round, as the ad is not allowed to appear again in its current form, and Prettylittlething was urged “not to use advertising that was likely to cause serious offense by objectifying women.” But considering that the ad is still viewable in its entirety on sites like the Independent — not to mention being written up by news sources — one has to wonder if this ruling might actually contribute to more people seeing the ad, rather than fewer.